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For those for whom "Shopping in Sandton" is their primary source of news [what, that's nobody?] we are happy to announce that, as of 1 June, the county will be going down to Level 3 Lockdown. President Cyril Ramaphosa advised this earlier in the week.
The biggest news (for many) was that liquor sales may restart. Why? Communion wine is alcoholic, isn't it?
For the other big news was that churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and other "recognised places of worship" may resume services. It's subject to a maximum of 50 congregants at a time, sanitising, social distancing and using masks. Some are not comfortable with the decision. Jesuits are questioning the opening of churches.
Others think it's too little. Quoted by EWN, Bishop T B Ngcobo, the chairperson of "God’s Church Must Rise" (sic), wanted more people to be allowed into church buildings. “The number is too low because there are churches with more than 1,000 members. This coronavirus is spiritual warfare”, Ngcobo said, while failing to cite anything to support the latter claim.
For those who regard evidence as an important guide to what is real, there is plenty. The scientific Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) found that the idea that prayer influences recovery from illness is "not supported by well-controlled clinical trials".
We have the case of Patient 31 in South Korea, a "super-spreader". She passed the virus to thousands of other people via two services at the Shincheonji Church.
According to News24, 200 Covid-19 cases are linked to three Eastern Cape funerals.
The "Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast" took place 9–11 March at the "Divine Restoration Ministries" in Bloemfontein. Five infected overseas visitors were present at the event of 859 people. Several attendees later tested positive for Covid-19. They included ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe, ACDP MP Steve Swart, lay preacher Angus Buchan and his wife, Jill. A pastor who attended the meeting, John Hlangeni (85), died after contracting Covid-19.
It should be obvious that there is no special protection from Covid-19 for people at religious gatherings. Like any other mass meeting, they can spread the virus. It's almost as if God doesn't care to look after His flock. Could it be that He doesn't exist? No, He is testing the faithful and acting in mysterious ways.
Why, then, are religious institutions given this exemption? Other forms of spiritual pursuit and recreation are not. Yoga classes, parks, cinemas, sports events, restaurants, and hairdressers cannot admit their patrons. Even when limiting them to 50 with strict sanitising and separation.
It's really about the money, isn't it? Pastors have lost their income. They need it back, and it doesn't matter how many of their congregants die. In fact, the funerals will only add to the churches' income.
Could it be that the President wants to get the influential faith community off his back? And at the same time perhaps reduce their numbers via infection?
Yet South Africans are inventive. MacDonald's, already almost a religion for some, is rumoured to be considering reopening as the Church of the Big Mac. The play-parks supervised by Ronald MacDonald will substitute for Hell. Italian Restaurants, too, have a golden opportunity. They can offer Holy Communion to followers of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. These "Pastafarians" will eat the body of their God in the form of a plate of spaghetti and meatballs. And drink His blood in the form of beer.
Who is to say they can't? The separation of religion from the state means that Government is not allowed to tell you how to practice your faith. The Bill of Rights prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion or belief.
When grades 7 and 12 go back to school next month, will the boys be sent home if they haven't had haircuts?
New on the Block, Movers and Shakers Back to top
Due to lockdown, not much to report this month, but we did get to Coachman's Crossing thanks to a dental visit.
Funny Language, English...
Does sanitising a lot make people saner? Sadly, the reverse might be true.
Restaurant Reviews Back to top
With restaurants still shut except for take-aways, we have no reviews for you this month. We had two excellent pizzas delivered from Polpetta Pizza & Pasta (Contact Details). The popcorn and coffee on the Sandspruit Trail were good (see below).
A current meme claims that the sudden cold snap is due to the liquor store fridges starting up.
But a bit of knowledge of physics and a moment's reflection shows that this can't be true: A refrigerator is a heat pump; in cooling its contents, it makes its surroundings hotter. So: To stay warm, move into your local bottle store.
You are allowed to exercise from 06:00 to 09:00 daily, and all day from 1 June. Parks are officially closed. However, it is hard to close a river trail that has multiple access points. As a result, the Sandspruit Hiking Trail has had unprecedented popularity, particularly last Sunday. From Eighth Ave upstream towards Kelvin Drive there were large parties of mothers and fathers, boys and girls, aunts and uncles and hangers-on. Most had masks; many were actually wearing them. A stall just south of Eighth Ave run by budding entrepreneurs offered popcorn at R10 a packet, and pancakes. On the riverbank beside the townhouses off Protea Close, a coffee stand did brisk business while people socialised (pictured):
What looks like a small white iceberg in the foreground is actually foam on the river. It is reputed to be chemical effluent from a paint factory in Wynberg that the City refuses to do anything about.
Victory for civil society: Dudu Myeni declared delinquent director for life
While the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority sit on their hands (except for Jacob Zuma), private enterprise has brought some justice to another state capture culprit.
A lengthy legal battle has ended with a victory against Dudu Myeni, who was
appointed to chair the SAA Board in 2012 and who, for five years, made headline
news for all the wrong reasons.
"I see here that criminals burgled a school and stole 16 bales of toilet paper."
"Sheesh. Some people are full of sh*t!"
Your name in print! Would you like to contribute a shop- or restaurant review, a less obscure joke, or something else for this Newsletter? Please e-mail us. You will get full credit (unless you want anonymity). Reach 5,650 shoppers and shop-owners: Advertise in this newsletter! Editor: Rick Raubenheimer.